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'We were wrong': CBS's Lara Logan apologizes for Benghazi report

By David Simpson, CNN
November 8, 2013 -- Updated 2004 GMT (0404 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Publication of book containing account is suspended
  • Reporter: CBS was "wrong" in report that raised questions about Benghazi attack
  • Official claims discrepancies between CBS source's accounts and what he told FBI
  • Source had claimed he violated orders, reached Benghazi compound and fought militant

(CNN) -- CBS correspondent Lara Logan apologized Friday and said the network was "wrong" for a "60 Minutes" report that raised questions about the Obama administration's response to last year's attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The assault left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"In this case, we were wrong. We made a mistake," Logan said on "CBS This Morning." "That's disappointing for any journalist. It's very disappointing for me."

A primary source for the "60 Minutes" report on October 27 was a security contractor using the pseudonym "Morgan Jones," later identified as Dylan Davies. Davies told CBS he was able to reach the Benghazi compound on the night of September 11, 2012, scale a wall and even fight off a militant.

Also on Friday, the publisher of a book containing Davies' account said it was suspending the sale and publication of the book. Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is recommending that booksellers not sell "The Embassy House" and return the books, spokeswoman Jennifer Robinson told CNN.

The "60 Minutes" story broadcast October 27 cast doubt on whether the Obama administration sent all possible help to try to save Stevens and his three colleagues. The story was then cited by congressional Republicans who have demanded to know why a military rescue was not attempted.

Benghazi attack timeline

Attackers set the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on fire on September 11, 2012. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other U.S. nationals were killed during the attack. The Obama administration initially thought the attack was carried out by an angry mob responding to a video, made in the United States, that mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. But the storming of the mission was later determined to have been a terrorist attack. Attackers set the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on fire on September 11, 2012. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other U.S. nationals were killed during the attack. The Obama administration initially thought the attack was carried out by an angry mob responding to a video, made in the United States, that mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. But the storming of the mission was later determined to have been a terrorist attack.
Attack on U.S. mission in Benghazi
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On Friday, Logan responded to questions from CBS's Norah O'Donnell, who pressed her for details about Davies.

"What we know now is, he told the FBI a different story to what he told us," Logan said. "That was the moment for us when we realized that we no longer had confidence in our source and we were wrong to put him on air, and we apologize to our viewers."

Logan was also asked about how CBS vetted Davies and his story.

"We verified him, confirmed who he was, that he was working for the State Department at the time, that he was in Benghazi at the special mission compound the night of the attack," Logan said. "He showed us -- he gave us access to communications he had with U.S. government officials."

"The Embassy House" tells the same story Davies told Logan. Davies also told Logan that he acted in violation of his employer's orders to stay away from the compound.

Since the revelations about problems with the story, Logan said CBS has tried to contact Davies but has not heard from him.

Congressman: Benghazi questions need answers

The news show apology comes a day after CBS issued a statement saying, "60 Minutes has learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound. We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction."

On Thursday a U.S. official told CNN that there were discrepancies between the contractor's accounts to the FBI and CBS, although the official did not specify them.

A second U.S. official told CNN the same thing Friday.

The New York Times, citing two senior government officials, reported Thursday that the contractor told the FBI he did not go the Benghazi compound on the night of the attack.

When Logan was asked Friday why CBS was willing to stand by its report after Davies lied to his employer, she said, "because he was very upfront about it; that was part of his story."

Incident report raised questions

The CBS story first came into question because of an incident report filed by the contractor's employer, the Blue Mountain security company. The incident report, obtained by CNN and first reported in The Washington Post, said the contractor never reached the Benghazi compound.

The incident report also revealed the real name of "Morgan Jones" to be Davies.

CBS initially stood by the story after the incident report came to light. Davies said he never saw the incident report. But he said it matched a false account he gave his Blue Mountain supervisor to cover up that he had disobeyed the supervisor's order not to go to the compound.

In a statement to CNN this week, Davies said, "The account in my book is consistent with what I gave to the FBI and U.S. authorities about what happened in Benghazi."

CIA operatives to testify at classified Benghazi hearing

Davies' co-author, Damien Lewis, also told CNN this week that Jones never wavered in his story.

"He's been consistent in the story from the word go," Lewis said. "Not only that, he's the kind of guy who downplays his role."

Reached Friday after CBS's apology, Lewis said he would have nothing more to say until Davies comments.

Hearing set for next week

CIA employees are scheduled to testify about the attack at a closed-door congressional hearing next week.

U.S. officials have said Stevens and information officer Sean Smith took refuge behind a heavy metal door at 10:30 p.m. on the night of the attack, about 30 minutes after attackers had breached the walls of the compound. The two were quickly overcome by smoke when attackers set fire to the building.

Also at 10:30 p.m., six security agents left a CIA annex a mile away. The six agents and 16 Libyan security officials regained control of the compound.

With the help of a rescue team that arrived from Tripoli at 1:15 a.m., the agents rescued about 30 Americans and took them to the CIA annex. They also took Stephens and Smith, although their conditions at that time have not been made clear.

At 4 a.m., militants attacked the CIA annex. Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed.

CNN's Jim Sciutto, Evan Perez and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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